If your child has special needs, it's important to find toys that challenge her without being discouraging, says Diana Nielander, of the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit dedicated to making play accessible to children with disabilities. The organization partnered with Toys "R" Us to put together its 2008 Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids -- check out these picks from the guide.
Gross Motor Skills
The Inchworm by Radio Flyer (2 to 5 years)
The worm moves forward when your child bounces up and down, which encourages him to use his legs and trunk muscles for balance. $45
Little Mommy Doctor Set by Mattel (2 years and up)
Taking care of a "sick" friend can help your child learn empathy, social interaction, and expressive language. $16
Courtesy of Crayola
Fine Motor Skills
TaDoodles All-in-One Paint by Crayola Beginnings (2 to 5 years)
Scribbling helps develop hand-eye coordination, and these ball-shaped paint markers are perfect for children who can't yet master the pencil grip. $6
Courtesy of Melissa & Doug
Deluxe Nesting and Stacking Blocks by Melissa & Doug (2 years and up)
Stacking these colorful blocks, each marked with two or three letters, can help your child learn size discrimination, sequencing skills, and the alphabet. $10
Learn & Groove Alphabet Drum by LeapFrog (6 months to 3 years)
Every time your child taps the drum he'll see a letter displayed in lights and hear it spoken aloud, which will help his early language development.
Originally published in the September 2008 issue of Parents magazine.
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